Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 OCT. 17, 2016 5 FAN FORUM THE RIGHT GUY? I thought Brian Kelly meant no more "death spirals" for Notre Dame football. Boy, was I wrong! Having suffered through the Texas loss in 100-degree heat index, I thought our defense was inept (again), but that DeShone Kizer and the offense would excel. Michigan State was hard enough, but now we're losing to Duke — and then to have Kelly blame the players for the loss. I have run my own business for over 30 years, with as many as 40 employees. If they perform poorly or lack passion for their work, it reflects on me because I hired and trained them. The end was also clear for Bob Davie when he started throwing his players under the bus. I always thought Brian Kelly was the right kind of guy to coach the Irish. I'm getting less sure about this every week. Bob Setty Austin, Texas Mr. Setty, in fairness, Brian Kelly has repeated about a dozen times in various conferences that the problems begin with the coaching. What he was venting about with the players after the Michigan State and especially Duke losses was the lack of energy, enthusiasm and passion — which he quickly acknowledged comes back to coaching. When asked about Kizer, Kelly sim- ply replied that he wasn't playing up to standards, like pretty much everyone else. It was an honest answer. Once you start losing more regularly, though, ev- ery comment is going to be "the wrong answer." When you win big like a Nick Saban and still criticize the players for underperforming, then you get hailed for "not settling for anything less than excellence." When you lose, everything you say comes out negatively. That's how the world of a coach usu- ally works. AN ISSUE TO TACKLE I have just one quick question: Do they even teach tackling once they get to Notre Dame, or do they feel their high school experience has taught them all they need to know? Pat Buckley Portage, Mich. Mr. Buckley, about a decade ago we asked former Notre Dame defensive backs coach Bill Lewis what the biggest change in football was from when he started in the 1960s to today. He noted that back then, schemes on offense and defense were much simpler, so about 80-85 per- cent of practice could focus on basics and maybe 15-20 percent on scheme. Today, it's the opposite, which then can lead to problems with fundamen- tals. Plus, with the concussion and head trauma issues at the forefront of foot- ball much more than ever before, contact work is limited as well. There's no simple answer (although the Fighting Irish secondary is extremely young), but that is one of our theories about football in general. Missed tackles or breaking tackles have always been part of the game, though. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007 Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: FROM THE WEBSITE Shortly after the firing of defensive coordinator Brian Van- Gorder, many subscribers on's website opined that having too much of a vanilla look on defense against Alabama with former defensive coordinator Bob Diaco led head coach Brian Kelly to overreact and become too "exotic" with VanGorder. Nailsbulls: Notre Dame will likely never out recruit Alabama on the defensive side of the ball. Which may have contributed to an impulsive thought that he has to out-scheme Nick Saban. Brian Kelly's nature pulls him towards scheme — as we sometimes see in the offensive play calling and the tendency to fall in love with "finesse plays." If he can stretch himself with the next DC hire and find that person that may be beyond his tendencies and comfort zone, I could see him finally putting the final pieces in place to get there. FightingMike87: Let's remember that in changing defensive coordinators they also needed to have time to recruit some bodies on the line because they were going to lose Louis Nix/Stephon Tuitt to the NFL and needed more DT/NG bodies than they had on the roster once the change to VanGorder was made (Peter Mokwuah for instance). That was then followed up by the class with Brandon Tiassum/ Elijah Taylor/etc. to beef up the depth on the DL, which has yet to be heard from for the most part on Saturday afternoons. Add to that the fact that nearly every defensive end that was recruited during that two-year span didn't stick and are now playing elsewhere. It was not only the plays being the driver but also the play- ers. You've got a huge hole in your front seven which exacerbates the hole even further because the scheme/plays being run was then filled with players who couldn't do what was being asked of them. Mgormal1: Looking back Diaco definitely had his flaws — like playing nickel was some kind of exotic defense. You have to be able to match personnel in today's game because you play so many spread teams. The challenge there is finding the right player to play the nickel, but the scheme itself should be simplistic. All we had to do was keep Diaco's scheme and find a way to play nickel, which no doubt is harder to adjust to in the 3-4 than the 4-3. But it is doable. Alabama does play base defense all game. Plus, we had Jaylon Smith in place. If you ever needed a LB to play a WR in coverage, that was your guy. Sophomore defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and the entire Notre Dame defense have had a rough start with the attrition in the secondary and a change in coordinators four games into the season. PHOTO BY RICK KIMBALL

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